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|Investigating the Detachment Fault Cycle at the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center (Cayman)
The overarching goal of this project is to understand the processes that govern the late stages of the detachment faulting life cycle, and the processes by which the fault system is abandoned, in particular. Oceanic detachments undergo a life cycle of slip and abandonment that lasts millions of years, and commonly expose upper mantle rocks on the seafloor in kilometer-scale domes called oceanic core complexes. Although they form in magma-poor settings, detachments often host high-temperature hydrothermal systems, and interactions between hydrothermal vents and ultramafic rocks generate fluids with distinct compositions. Detachment faults are associated with a delicate interplay between tectonic, magmatic, and hydrothermal processes, but how such interactions evolve over the ~2 Myr life cycle are controversial. This project will use a local microearthquake survey of the Mt. Dent massif on the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center, to constrain the tectono-magmatic processes associated with the late stage of the life cycle. A network of ocean bottom seismographs will be deployed for 6–12 months to detect microearthquake arrivals, which will be used to generate hypocenter and focal mechanism catalogs, and also to test new full-waveform methods for detecting and locating hypocenters.
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